The Mezuzah

mezuzah2

Introduction

Mezuzah is the Hebrew word for ‘doorpost”. (Plural: mezuzot/doorposts) We see the use of this Hebrew word in the following passages:

“Hear, O Israel! YHWH is our God, the YHWH is one! “You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts (mezuzot) of your house and on your gates. (Dt. 6:4-9)

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love YHWH your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.”He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. “Beware that your hearts are not deceived and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them” … “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall write them on the doorposts (mezuzot) of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which YHWH swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.  (Dt. 11:13-21)

Notice that these passages are dealing with a specific commandment given to us by God. The Jewish people developed traditions for “how” to keep this commandment several centuries before the time of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus)[1]. The literal commandment is to “write God’s commandments upon the doorposts of our homes and on our gates (property entrance)”. The text leaves room for freedom of expression in how this is done. One could etch them into the wood or metal, write them in an ink or other medium, or one could follow the traditions passed down to us from Judah (Jews) in this matter.

Since it is obvious that it is not always feasible for many of us to carve up or write all over our doorposts (think of resale purposes and renters, etc.), the best option is to do what Judah (Jews) have done for many centuries. They write the Word of God, specifically Dt. 6:4-9; 11:13-21, on a piece of parchment, place it inside a protective and decorated case, and affix it to their doorposts. These “mezuzah cases” are easily affixed and removed. Below are a couple of samples. You can see that they are quite beautiful.

The Hebrew letters spell “shaddai” on the first mezuzah, but more often you will only find the letter “shin” on the outside of the case like in the second example. Both stand for “El Shaddai” or God Almighty. This is a nice tradition with great meaning, but is not part of the written commandment. Therefore, you can find or make your own unique and creative case to hold the mezuzah scroll.

While the mezuzah may be a foreign concept, tradition, and commandment to Christians, it was a familiar and established practice among 1st century Jews and early Believers. Yeshua (Jesus) would have not only been aware of its use, but would have obediently kept this practice as it was a commandment of God. Breaking the Law is sin[2] and we know Yeshua knew no sin[3].

Purpose

While many commandments given to us in the Torah[4] are elusive in purpose, the intent of the Creator is clear in regard to the mezuzah. In Deuteronomy, after receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai, Moses tells the Israelites about the mezuzah[5]. The mezuzah reminds us to love YHWH (the LORD) and to obey Him. When asked which commandment was the greatest, Yeshua responded in words taken from those Scriptures:

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question…saying: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment”  (Mt. 22:35-38; i.e. Mark 12:28-30)

The idea is simple really. As flesh and blood (sin prone) beings, we are always in need of “reminders”; especially daily ones. (Our God is so smart He knew this all along!) When we go about our day, we naturally pass through doors. When our eyes meet the mezuzah on the doorpost or gate, we are reminded of the God we serve and are less likely to act like the world outside. In this way, the mezuzah also acts like a guardian to the property given to us by the Creator. A mezuzah dedicates these possessions back to the One from whom all blessings flow.

Understanding this fact, the Hebrew letter shin or the word Shaddai found on most mezuzot is traditionally said to be an acronym by Jewish Rabbis. The acronym stands for: “shomer daltot Yisrael” or in English: “He who keeps the doors of Israel”. This signifies that both your home and your family are guarded and protected by the Name and the Word of the Almighty[6]. Touching the mezuzah as you enter or leave provides a powerful reassurance that God is watching over you[7].

Many Jewish Sages believe the mezuzah holds some kind of mystical power that wards off evil[8]. Their assessment is partially true, but not because of any mystic powers. According to the Bible, we are not saved, but blessed when we are obedient to God’s commandments. This theme is emphasized over and over from Genesis to Revelation[9]. Likewise, our disobedience brings about curses or hardships as we move further away from God. Therefore, being obedient, even in affixing a mezuzah, will cause us to be blessed. Being blessed encompasses protection from harm by enemies and natural disasters. This will be especially true if the function of the mezuzah takes precedence: loving God with all your heart, soul, and might, hiding His Word in your heart, teaching these things to your children, and meditating on them from the time you rise until the time you retire. Why? Because if you really do these things, you naturally become more and more obedient to God.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.  (1Jn 5:2-3)

The mezuzah is also a tangible way to express our love of God and at the same time witness to others (friends, family, and strangers) about our faith. By affixing a mezuzah, we are loudly proclaiming our allegiance to the King of Heaven and Earth. It also reminds us that we are blessed, and we are to be a blessing in our coming and going.

Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (Jn. 14:23-24)

There is a definite reward for observing this mitzvah (commandment) as promised in the Bible. It is long life for oneself and one’s children in the land of Israel (and spiritually in the Kingdom Come)[10].

Spiritual Significance

Mezuzah literally means doorpost. The first biblical occurrence of this Hebrew word is in Exodus 12:7 in reference to the Pesach (Passover) Lamb.

‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts (mezuzot) and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. (Ex. 12:7)

The lamb’s blood placed on the doors during Passover was sign to YHWH and the death angel that those inside were in covenant with the God of Israel. The blood literally saved those that were obedient from death. As Believer’s in the Messiah Yeshua, the imagery is unmistakable. The Lamb of Passover is a picture of the Lamb of God, Yeshua (Jesus). John the Baptist understood this.

The next day he saw Yeshua coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Jn. 1:29)

Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Yeshua as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (Jn. 1:35-36)

The Apostle Paul clearly saw the imagery and tried to show us its splendor:

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1Cor. 5:7-8)

Peter likewise saw Yeshua as his sacrificial Lamb:

Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah. (1Pt. 1:18-19)

In the Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah, John the Beloved saw and used the imagery of the Paschal Lamb over and over again. The verses below are only a small sample. The fact that Yeshua is that Lamb is undeniable. The book of Revelation is prophetic and is yet future for us; it is prophecy. Therefore, God hasn’t changed His mind about this imagery. Yeshua is still the Lamb! (He always has been—- from the beginning!)

And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (Rev. 5:6)

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Rev. 12:11)

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)

Now, I would like to connect all these passages together for you that we have been studying. Remember the Passover in Exodus required blood from a lamb to be placed on the doorposts of the faithfully obedient in order to be spared from the death angel. The Bible states it this way:

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. “You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood (of the Lamb) which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts (mezuzot); and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. “For YHWH will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood (of the lamb) on the lintel and on the two doorposts (mezuzot), YHWH will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. “And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. (Ex. 12:21-24)

Placing a mezuzah on your doorpost is a sign (a reminder) of the blood of the Lamb. This is Yeshua’s blood shed for us. When we are obedient to this commandment, we are displaying our faith in His blood. It is His blood that guards and protects us and our homes. It is customary to touch the mezuzah as we come in and out of our homes and then kiss our fingers. Each time we do this, we are giving thanks for Yeshua’s precious blood that has been shed for us—- for our eternal salvation and protection in this life.

There can be no coincidence that in the beginning we are told where it is that sin lies in wait for us:

“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:7)

The “door” has great significance in scripture. For example, we know that Yeshua IS the door[11]. It is a place of covenant– or lack thereof. It is a place of security or destruction. In the beginning (Genesis/Bereshit), the Father reveals a very important spiritual principle. Inside the house, God’s house, there is protection. The Blood of the Lamb provides this for us. But, just outside the door, sin is waiting for us. Its desire is to overcome us. The good news is that through the blood of Yeshua, we can master it. After all, He has already overcome the world, sin, and death[12]. Just because we are saved by the grace of God doesn’t mean that we will not battle evil, sin, or our flesh. Like Cain, we have to master these things[13]. But to do this without the blood upon our doorposts is futile; death will still overtake us.

Interestingly, the Hebrew root word for mezuzah is zeez[14]. This word means to move. This leads to the question of what is to be moved on our doorposts? According to the original Passover story, it is DEATH that is moved away from us! Therefore, again we can see that the Blood of the Lamb moves death itself.

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Rev. 1:17-18)

Do you recall how most mezuzot cases have a Hebrew shin or the word Shaddai written on them? This stands for El Shaddai or God Almighty. The rabbis also believe this stands for the acronym “He that keeps the doors of Israel”. Do you see the connection in light of the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) verses we have been studying?

The mezuzah symbolizes the Blood of the Lamb, Yeshua’s Blood. It is through His blood that the destroyer is not allowed to come near our homes or property! Remember the promise given to us for keeping this commandment? LONG LIFE! It is all connected. Now when you look at this commandment given to us in the Torah I hope you can see the wisdom and the Spirit of Love in which the Father gave it to us. His Word is certainly not idle[15]!

How to Affix a Mezuzah

These instructions are tradition. We aren’t told exactly “how-to” keep this commandment in the Torah, only that we should observe it. Therefore, feel free to follow these recommendations or express this commandment as you are led by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). I personally have found it fulfilling to keep customs and traditions set in place by Judah (Jews) for many millennia, as long as they don’t abrogate the written Word of God.

The Mezuzah is fixed to the right hand door post as you enter the house or room. It is fixed in a diagonal position, with the top towards the entrance, and it should be somewhere in the top third of the door post. It can be fixed to those rooms which are lived in, but not to bathrooms, store rooms etc. Obviously, the most important doors to affix a mezuzah to are those that lead to the outside of the house. If you can only affix one mezuzah, place it on the door most often used by the family or business that leads outside. When attaching a Mezuzah there is a traditional blessing to be said which expresses the awareness that we are fulfilling a mitzvah (commandment.)

Baruch Ata A-do-nai Elo-heinu Melech Haolam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu likboah mezuzah.

Translation:

Blessed are You, O Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix a Mezuzah.

Remember that just as the Israelites applied the blood of the lamb to the mezuzot of their homes at the time of their deliverance from Egypt, so we are affixing mezuzot to the doors of our homes (and hearts). The mezuzah should be a daily reminder that we are also bought with a price, and that it is God Almighty (El Shaddai) who guards and protects our property and lives. The mezuzah should be a constant witness of our great faith and of the redeeming blood of our Passover lamb, Yeshua our Messiah.


[1] They [the Jews] are also to inscribe the principal blessings they have received from God upon their doors. (Antiquities 4:8:13). [Josephus]

[2] 1Jn 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”.

[3] 2Co 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”.

[4] i.e. Law of Moses. Literally means “instruction” in Hebrew, not “law”.

[5] Dt. 6:4-21

[6] When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Messiah, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the gospel, (Eph. 3:4-6)

[7] Don’t make the mistake of ASSUMING that this doesn’t include you if you consider yourself a Gentile and/or Christian. The Apostle Paul goes to great lengths in his letters to show us over and over again that believers JOIN unto the household of God’s people Israel at their conversion. They neither REPLACE nor become SEPARATE from God’s Assembly that He calls Israel. This is the same picture given to us in the book of Ruth. And what Paul calls the “mystery of the gospel”.  (Mt. 15:24, Rom. 11, Col.1:26-27,  Eph. 2- 3 & 6) See author for much more info.

[8] See the Tosafot and the Shulchan Aruch. The main function of the mezuzah is to protect the house from evil.

[9] Some examples: Gen. 22:18 read whole chapter, Dt. 11:27-28; Dt. chapter 28, Is. 48:17-18, Dan. 9:3-18, Luke 11:27-28, Jn. 13:17; 14:23-24, Col. 3:10, 1 Jn. 5:2-3, Rev. 14:12

[10] Dt. 11: 20-28

[11] John 10:7

[12] John 16:33

[13] Some examples: Rom. 12:21, 2 Pet. 2:19, 1 Jn. 2:13-14; 4:4; 5:4

[14] Strong’s H2123

[15] Dt. 32:47

Categories: Biblical Symbols | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The Mezuzah

  1. Cristobal Benitez Nall

    Shalom le kulam
    This is the best ever¡¡¡¡
    Todah rabah

    Liked by 1 person

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